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Marc Haegeman

New Swan Lake for the Royal Ballet of Flanders

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On January 24 the RB of Flanders premiered its new Swan Lake, staged by Marcia Haydée. At least one person on this board seems to have seen it and I know there are several others posting here who know and saw the company before.

So what were your thoughts?

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I saw it with the first cast, Aki and Wim, and I have to say it was spectacularly danced.

I particularly liked the corps pieces in the first act. It was nice to see the corps actually dance for once. I did however, miss the Pas de Trois, and I didn't feel that whatever replaced it was really good enough.

Alain as Rothbart was wonderful. I did feel that his movements, although interesting, didn't really fit in with the rest of the production. I'm guessing the point was to emphasize that he doesn't really fit in anywhere? He's not human or animal, so he shouldn't move like either one?

The second act was very good. The corps was again, very together, especially the four swans. I did feel like there was a little too much flapping going on at one point, and that Aki tended to overflap when she first saw Sigfried.

The third act, apart from black swan was whatever. It's not exactly my favorite part of Swan Lake, I'm just waiting for black swan, but some parts seemed particularly boring. Black swan was good, although the music in the beginning caught me off guard. I think she used one phrase twice or something? I don't remember, but it was rather jarring. I was very disappointed with the black swan variation though. I didn't really like the music, I prefer the other one, but I guess that's just because that's what I'm used to. But the choreography was disappointingly bland. I felt like all the bravura that is normally the hallmark of black swan was missing. And I felt like there was a lot of "take time to get in to fourth position and let everyone know what you're about to do, then do two pirouettes." I felt like if she was going to take all that time getting ready, she should at least have gotten three out of it. But, that's really the only area I feel she needs work on. For everything else she is technically wonderful.

The ending had me in shock. First of all, I didn't like the whole pecking him to death thing they had going. I didn't think it was attractive movement. And then there is the fact that in the second act, Odette tells Sigfried he can't kill Rothbart, or they will remain swans forever, and then what do the swans do? They kill Rothbart.

All in all, it was technically a very strong production, but I wasn't incredibly fond of Haydee's choreography/interpretation. If it was the first Swan Lake I'd ever seen, I'm sure I would have loved it, but I prefer the overly traditional, Petipa Swan Lake.

That was a lot longer than I meant it to be. :wink:

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Many thanks for sharing your impressions, chocolatemilklover!

The omission of the pas de trois was most likely determined by the size of the company - just over 50 dancers.

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